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I Ching Hexagram Interpretations

11: Harmony

Harmony

Earth seems to be above heaven and heaven is on earth. The gravity of matter merges with the upward radiation of light to merge in a condition of deep harmony. This juxtaposition denotes a time of peace and blessings for all living things. In the affairs of men, tranquility comes when the good, strong and powerful show favor to the lowly, and those of more modest means are well disposed toward those who are currently blessed. There is an end to all feuds. In such a state, energy is high, the way clear and the prospects for great success are outstanding.

A deep chaos abides in nature, but man, by carefully responding to the rhythms and cycles of the times, can find peace in the natural world. By planting the right crop in the right place in the right season, the mindfulness of the farmer brings harmony into the natural world of plants, and prosperity to his family. Similarly, business needs to adjust to the natural cycles of different seasons; only through flexibility and constant adjusting can order and growth both be maintained. Peace produces a time of flowering and prosperity; the wise person channels this positive energy to all areas of life, to each in proper proportion, just as a farmer waters his fields and orchards. But be vigilant and discriminating: otherwise, peaceful conditions can promote the growth of weeds as well as flowers.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

In times of peace and prosperity, an individual of high purpose is able to draw like-minded people to a good cause. As such people become available, enlist their support. Now is the time for people of talent to set out to accomplish something.

Line 2

The great danger in a time of peace is a weakening of resolve at the center of things. The true leader uses such periods to tend to all necessary tasks, pleasant and unpleasant, safe and unsafe, so that nothing is neglected. The master of events, like any great artist, finds a use for everything, and gives everyone a role to play. Be watchful for the rise of factions or cliques; they are often the first sign of approaching decay.

Line 3

Change is the great constant of the universe. What goes up must come down. Just as the ripest, sweetest fruit hangs by a mere thread, so periods of prosperity can fall of their own weight. Death and decay are always a part of life; they can be held at bay temporarily, but never altogether banished. Let this knowledge flicker like an eternal flame inside you. Only by being realistic about the world can you escape the illusion that good fortune can last forever, and prepare properly for the changes wrought by your destiny. And try to remember that fortune never completely abandons he whose inner riches remain superior to the workings of his fate.

Line 4

When general confidence is high, the large and the small mingle pleasantly. It furthers the strong to meet with the weak, or the wealthy with the poor, during such periods, for the lowly possess a kind of truth which penetrates the artifices that are created by excessive advantage. Mutual benefit is the key. Spontaneous contact based on the truth of inner feelings never fails.

Line 5

A princess marries a man of lesser rank, but honors him as other wives do their husbands. In a union of the high and low, modesty on the part of those of higher rank brings sublime success.

Line 6 (top line)

When prosperity leads to decay, misfortune follows. Imagine a city wall collapsing into its moat. In times of collapse, it helps no one to fight against overwhelming odds. Moral strength is called for, instead of violence. In times of peace, necessary defenses can erode. The fortress can become vulnerable to attack. Try not to be like the citizens who, having become lazy and indifferent, put their homes at risk. Be prepared for external problems. Do not allow yourself to become complacent.